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WikiProject Amateur radio (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
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owned by Zenith once?[edit]

Wasn't Heathkit owned at one time by Zenith Electronics Corporation ? (Rogerd 19:41, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC))

I believe they were, but I'm not sure of the dates of ownership (looking for it now in the NYT archives). I also remember that they were owned by Schlumberger Limited for a time before that. -lee 02:59, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Schlumberger owned Heathkit through the 70's. ZEC bought Heathkit in 1979. Heathkit Data Systems, once a marketing division, became Zenith Data Systems, and eventually a separate business unit, alongside Veritechnology (the stores) and Heathkit. ZEC sold all three units to Groupe Bull in 1989 or 1990. Bull sold Heathkit to a holding company, and it has been private ever since. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:29, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

It would be nice to get sources for all that and add it to the article. Rees11 (talk) 22:08, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

As an employee who lived through it all (it looks familiar...I might have written this back then) it's accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

correct date for ocilloscope kit? conflict in article[edit]

The text says that the oscilloscope kit was sold in 1947, but the caption under the photo says 1967. Which one is correct? Bgelb 08:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I assume both are correct. Not my picture... but Heathkit sold many models of oscilloscope over a long period of time. The one in the picture looks different from the one _I_ built circa 1960, for example... which if I recall correctly had a sort of instititutional grey-green color. Presumably, the picture is of a 1967-vintage product, not the original 1947 product. Dpbsmith (talk) 10:10, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

An IO-12 manual (I have access to all of the Heathkit manuals) indicates a copyright date of 1962, which implies the kit was first available then. The copy I'm referring to has a publication date of 1967. Seems like a long time for any single model of 'scope to be available, but maybe back then this was typical. Also...all Heathkit model numbers have a dash between the letters and numbers. Still do, too. 18:42, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

In case anyone is interested, the IO-12 was slightly redesigned into the IO-18 which extended it product life somewhat. The changes were relatively minor. The casing was redisigned into the later beige/brown styling. Some of the more obsolescent tubes were substituted for more current versions. In particular the EHT rectifier tube was replaced by a selenium rectifier. Otherwise the circuitry was largely unchanged. The only manual that I have access to shows a date of 1971 (no copyright date shown). (talk) 09:18, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Could we split out a Ham Radio article for Heath ???[edit]

Heathkit's contribution to amateur radio (and computers) was significant and would likely overwhelm this article's focus on the business history.

For example the Heathkit SB-line was a landmark in making high performance radios accessible to everyone; the use of the SB-300 receiver in the movie "Frequency" suggests this. The 1960's Heathkit SB-200 linear amplifier is used today and fetches high prices on eBay, much like that era's Heathkit audio amplifiers.

A custom built Heathkit SSB transceiver was used on Thor Hierdahl's, the Ra Expedition.

Maybe if we added sections for Amateur, computer, home automation, and educational kits? The current article is purely chronological, and breaking it up differently may help.Thbusch (talk) 19:46, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Catalog vs. store sales of Heathkits.[edit]

A very nice article.

As an aside, I would like to have seen the article note that until the '70's all Heathkits (from the Parasol on) were purchased by mail order from regularly published Heathkit catalogs. In the early 70's Heath/Schlumberger began opening a series of company-owned stores throughout the U.S. The idea behind the stores was to reach potential customers who liked the kits, but were reluctant to purchase them "sight unseen" as it were. Fully operational, employee-assembled kits of all products in the Heath product line were made available on "touchy-feely" displays at all Heath stores, with audio products displayed and listened to in a separate section. Electronic techs were on hand to provide help to customers with their kits, and to debug and repair customer kits that didn't work like they were supposed to, for whatever reason (most often from soldering errors). The stores carried rather extensive inventories of kit spare parts for the repair techs, but also made them available to customers for sale, or quite often as simple "no questions asked" no-charge replacements for broken components.

The store program was very successful, even at the stores' slightly higher price. But store sales were often difficult to make to customers who knew they could get exactly the same kit by mail order from the factory at a lower cost and without state sales taxes added on in addition. Although Heath store managers regularly complained about the sales inhibiting catalog/store price difference, Heath managers responsible for factory sales had everyday contact with Heath's president (Dave Nurse), and were able to maintain the catalog/store price differential.

Heath store managers and techs were regularly brought back to the factory in St. Joseph, the store managers for briefings on the newest Heath products, and the store techs for familiarization and repair training on the new products. A special in-store computer training program in the basics of computers was set up for store techs prior to the release of the H8, H11 and associated computer peripherals.

In the end, the fundamental error in Heath's store program was the steep financial outlay required for the puchase of real estate, and the building and stocking of the factory owned stores. Other competitors -- Radio Shack in particular -- out-sourced their store operations by franchising them. Although offering store franchise opportunities was frequently brought up for discussion by store managers, the concept was repeatedly vetoed by Heath's upper level management.

The financial burden of funding and maintaining the relatively small number of company-owned stores (twenty eight in all), and the increasing availability of lower cost, highly competitive ham radio, audio, and electronic products made in Japan, eventually put an end not only to the Heath store program, but to the decline and end of Heathkit itself.  For example, employees on the Heath kit assembly lines began to find they could buy a fully operational color TV — and have it delivered and installed — much cheaper from Sears than buying an equivalent Heathkit color TV, even with their employee discount, and without the work and potential end problems of assembling the TV kit themselves.

And as an added note on the highly regarded, exceptionally well-written Heathkit assembly manuals, it was said that a group of Japanese businessmen on a tour of the Heath Company's facility at St. Joseph in the early '70's, were openly shown everything the factory had to offer -- except the company's Manuals Department, which Heath management definitely would not permit the businessmen to see.

K. Kellogg-Smith 22:47, 1 April 2007 (UTC) The Heathkit entry appears to contain some factual erros. Two immediately apparent ones are: 1) The AA-141 pre-amplifier is not a 1972 product (perhaps 1962?). The view clearly shows vacuum-tube sockets and point-to-point wiring (and the styling is obviously late 50s/early 60s). 2) The AA-100 is identified as "an all transistor unit." It isn't: actually it's an all-tube unit. See, for example, photos of it at

Beautifully written[edit]

I saw the note requesting a clean up and change in tone. I sure hope it doesn't happen soon, because I found this a beautifully written and touching piece of work! Congratulations to the author(s). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Small Mistake[edit]

The article identifies the Heathkit model AA-100 as "an all transistor unit" yet the schematics available on the Internet clearly show that this was an all-tube amplifier. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Similarly, the article notes: "DESA sold a large portion of the collection of legacy kit schematics and manuals in late 2008..." DESA never owned Heathkit, the "Heathkit-Zenith" trade name and motion-lighting control division was sold to DESA about 1998. Heathkit, not DESA, sold the manual collection to Mr. Peterson. (talk) 15:19, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Removed "Essay-like" tag dated December 2007[edit]

It's been there almost a year and nobody has shown any interest in doing anything. I reviewed the Manual of Style to see what it said and nothing leaped out at me that would require an article rewrite. The Manual of Style actually says nothing about writing style itself.

The article should be better referenced--it's a holdover from 2004 when ref tags didn't exist and WP:CITE was typically honored in the breach. Dpbsmith (talk) 01:42, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Not an OM-2[edit]

The picture identified as a model OM-2 is clearly labeled in the picture itself as model OL-1. Kevin k (talk) 00:51, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Looks like you've corrected this issue yourself. Thanks for the edits! -- Bovineone (talk) 02:25, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Time to split, time to reassess the rating[edit]

This article is a mix of the Heathkit line of products and the companies that made them.

The companies should be split off and they were generally not single-product companies.

Until this is done, the article should be re-assessed as it does not deserve a "B" rating. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this is not B grade, it's A+ grade, perhaps the best written tech history article, just in terms of English prose alone if nothing else, I've seen on WP. It is a shame this sort of superior prose style is so hard come by these days. Outstanding in every way. Antimatter33 (talk) 05:23, 2 August 2012 (UTC)